Anil Thakraney: Are corporates pushing Sachin?

07 Dec,2012

By Anil Thakraney


There has been a lot of talk in the media (and on the streets) over Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement plan. Or indeed the lack of it. Further fuelled by Ricky Ponting’s decision to hang up his large boots. Obviously there is merit in this discussion, even if Tendlya himself doesn’t wish to be a part of it. Cricket is a young man’s game, and a 40 year old batsman does sound like a misfit. This is further confirmed by the master’s consistent failure to perform. Of course, he’ll play the odd decent inning, but that doesn’t take away from the point.


So then why is the Rajya Sabha MP unwilling to leave the pitch? Part of the problem I guess is the state of living in denial. Your mind says you can rock it, but the ageing body isn’t falling in line with that thinking. This can happen in any field of activity (even sex!), but it becomes a huge problem in sport. Sachin may still be as tough in the head as he was two decades ago, but that won’t improve his reflexes. He also gives me the impression of being a stubborn man-child. Notice how Sachin continued with that shoddy new hair style of his for months together despite all the criticism in the media, even from his diehard fans.


However, there’s another theory doing the rounds, and this one is far more sinister than a bad hair job. Sachin is mindful of the endorsement contracts that are still alive, and the impact of his retirement on these deals. Naturally the contracts become null and void if the man suddenly retires, and hefty refunds (possibly even penalties) will become payable. It’s very likely that these financial matters are playing on the MP’s mind. And preventing him from walking away into the sunset. If so, this is terrible. Because this means Sachin will play for a few more years, causing problems not just for the team but for his own self. A billion Indians would hate to watch the old master make a fool of himself on the cricket ground.


I think for the greater good, all those advertisers who have signed up Sachin should release him from the contracts immediately. There are enough young guns in Indian sports, they can fish elsewhere. In any case, Brand Sachin is no longer as potent as it used to be (this factor deserves a post by itself), so it’s better to move on.


Perhaps with this weight off his shoulders, the master will do the right thing. Which is to join the commentary team. And also focus on how he can make this nation a slightly better place.




PS: Ah. Just another day in the entirely stressful advertising life. 🙂


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